Bencic finds some form, Puig powers through at Indian Wells

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Belinda Bencic finally showed some improved form in 2017 as Monica Puig joined her in the BNP Paribas Open second round.

Bencic, a former US Open quarter-finalist, has fallen to 128th in the rankings and a straight-sets victory over Tsvetana Pironkova at Indian Wells on Wednesday marked her first WTA win of the year.

Also advancing to the second round at the WTA Premier event was Puig, the Olympic gold medallist needing just 69 minutes to crush Danielle Collins.

There were also wins for Kayla Day, Heather Watson and Louisa Chirico.

 

BETTER BENCIC

The year so far has been a battle for Bencic, but it showed some signs of improving with a 6-4 6-1 win over Pironkova.

The Swiss teenager broke serve five times to improve her win-loss record against Bulgarian Pironkova to 4-0.

Bencic's only previous win of 2017 came in Fed Cup action last month.

PUIG POWERS THROUGH

Puig, the world number 43, did what was expected of her in a 6-0 6-2 win over wildcard Collins.

A much tougher test in the form of third seed Karolina Pliskova awaits for Puig in the second round.

 

YOUNGSTERS SHINE

Day made the most of her wildcard with a 6-3 6-4 win against Kurumi Nara in her opener.

The 17-year-old claimed the junior singles title at the US Open last year and is a player to watch.

Her fellow American, 20-year-old Chirico, also won through, beating Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-3.

There was no such luck for another teenager, CiCi Bellis, who was edged by Kirsten Flipkens 4-6 6-1 6-4.

Among other players progressing on Wednesday were Monica Niculescu, Yanina Wickmayer, Jelena Ostapenko and Watson.

Watson beat wildcard Nicole Gibbs 4-6 6-2 6-2 to set up an all-British clash against Johanna Konta in the second round.